Nov 08, 2023

SAPOL investigation launched after older man tasered, pepper prayed

Untitled design - 2023-11-09T084724.456
The complaint was allegedly made to police after the man's family saw footage of the incident. [Source: News Corp Australia]

A criminal investigation has been launched into the conduct of two South Australian police officers after an older man was tasered and pepper-sprayed at an aged care facility.

The incident took place with resident Mick Francis, who is in his 60s and lives with Huntington’s disease, at an unnamed care home in Adelaide’s south on October 26. 

On Tuesday, South Australian Police (SAPOL) confirmed an altercation took place between two officers and Mr Francis (who was not named at the time of the statement) at the facility and that a Taser and oleoresin capsicum (OC) spray was deployed to arrest him. Mr Francis sustained minor injuries during the arrest and is in hospital for treatment. 

On Sunday, a complaint was lodged with the Office for Public Integrity and SAPOL over the incident. After reviewing bodycam footage, police investigators identified “concerns” and began criminal and disciplinary investigations.

Officers delivered the footage to Police Commissioner Grant Stevens, who has declared a Commissioner’s Inquiry into the incident.

On Wednesday, Mr Stevens authorised the release of CCTV footage capturing the incident, showing two officers dragging Mr Francis out of the property and physically restraining him. The footage shows one officer allegedly kneeing Mr Francis in order to restrain him. Paramedics were also on the scene.

The decision to release the footage to the media comes after SAPOL released a statement on Tuesday claiming protocol prohibited the disclosure or publication of information on such matters, but Mr Stevens decided it was in the public interest to disclose the incident and complaint.

Untitled design - 2023-11-08T114116.290
Police Commissioner Grant Stevens (pictured) authorised the release of the CCTV footage on Wednesday afternoon. [Source: News Corp Australia]

“However, the commissioner has determined to authorise both the disclosure and publication of the above information in relation to this complaint, as it is in the public interest to do so.

“No further information in relation to this incident is to be disclosed or published, pursuant to the Police Complaints and Discipline Act.”

This incident follows NSW aged care resident who lived with dementia Clare Nowland being allegedly tasered by police in May. As a result, Ms Nowland fell and hit her head and died in hospital from her injuries.

Screenshot 2023-09-28 151021
Ms Nowland was described to be frail and appeared to be experiencing symptoms of dementia while wandering the facility with her walking and a serrated knife. [Source: PR image]

Speaking at a press conference on Tuesday afternoon, Deputy Commissioner Linda Williams said the inquiry would be led by a senior police officer but would be overseen by the independent Office for Public Integrity.

Additionally, the incident was allegedly not reported up the chain of command and it took a public complaint to set the investigation in process.

The Deputy Commissioner said this would also be investigated.

“I think you can read from the response that there is a level of concern that justified a commissioner’s inquiry,” she said.

At the time, Ms Williams would not disclose whether the man was a resident of the facility or a worker and said the inquiry would take as long as it needed to gain clarity into what happened on October 26. She expressed confidence in how SAPOL officers deployed force.

Ms Williams said, “I’m confident that in the majority of cases, police officers exercise those authorities appropriately.”

The two officers have been removed from duty with full pay for the duration of the investigation.

Mr Francis’ family is seeking legal advice following the alleged incident.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. I’m both horrified and disgusted that any person let alone a police officer can walk into a nursing home and administer such an action on an elderly person who can’t comprehend what is happening. If a police officer doesn’t have the skills to be able to calm someone through talking to them then policing shouldn’t be their occupation. It should be illegal to use any of these measures in a nursing home.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

Medical peak bodies submits concerns over new in-home aged care program

The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) has flagged that the initial reforms of the in-home aged care model does not include or consider General Practitioners (GPs), voicing concerns this mistake would lead to worse health outcomes for older people. Read More

Unions say providers ‘gaming’ new funding model to “short-change” aged care workers

Health and aged care worker unions have raised concerns that some aged care providers are trying to “short-change” nurses and aged care workers by not passing-on full wage increases. Read More

Care sector economy plan needs stronger super entitlements for gig workers

The Federal Government is developing a National Strategy for the Care and Support Economy to ensure they can provide sustainable, high-quality care and support for Australians into the future and it wants your say. Read More
Advertisement